NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards toured Daughter’s of Charity, a New Orleans East community health clinic with governors and governors-elect from across the United States Saturday (Dec. 1), in order to show states without Medicaid expansion the benefits of access to healthcare for the working poor.
“It’s the right thing to do for every reason,” Edwards said.
According to Edwards, the state is seeing success from Medicaid expansion, which was implemented by his executive order in 2016.
“It’s having a tremendous economic impact on the state,” Edwards said.
Yet, more important than the money are the lives Edwards said are being saved.
“People are being diagnosed earlier with diseases and they’re getting treated more effectively. And we’re giving them an opportunity to live,” Edwards said.
However, not everyone is in favor of the expansion. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy said he supports Medicaid, but does not agree with the way it is operated in this state.
“Medicaid has helped a lot of people and I support it,” Kennedy said. “Governor Edwards has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in implementing Louisiana’s Medicaid program. If government waste was a crime, John Bel would be serving a life sentence.”
Kennedy said people who don’t need it are dipping into Medicaid funds because they’re not properly checking income.
“It’s like the Price is Right, come on down. You want to be on Medicaid? It doesn’t matter how much money you make, they’ll take anybody,” Kennedy said. “Number two, even for those who do qualify, if they could work, we ought to help them get a job. John Bel implemented a work requirement for Medicaid. The problem is, it’s a work requirement without work!”
Kennedy is considering a bid for governor and is scheduled to announce Monday whether or not he will run.
Edwards, however, said the state has saved more than $300 million in the state general fund. Rural hospitals are staying open and an additional 19,000 people are employed. He said 480,000 working poor people have health insurance now, upping the number of uninsured Louisianans from one in four to one in 10.